British Columbia, Canada

British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, is defined by its Pacific coastline and mountain ranges. Nature areas like Glacier National Park offer hiking and biking trails, as well as campgrounds. Whistler Blackcomb is a major ski resort that hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. The scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway links Whistler with Vancouver, a city known for its film industry, at the province’s southern U.S. border.

Vancouver’s Stanley Park has 1,000 acres of forest, trails, beaches and the Vancouver Aquarium. West of Vancouver, Vancouver Island is home to the provincial capital, Victoria, known for its gardens and colonial-era landmarks. On the island’s west coast, there are rainforest hikes in Pacific Rim National Park and surfing beaches around Tofino. Port McNeill, in the north of Vancouver Island, is a popular orca whale-watching spot. The Gulf Islands offer a laid-back, artsy vibe. Other B.C. attractions include the wineries of the Okanagan Valley, the Kootenay Rockies region’s hot springs and the bird-watching mecca of Boundary Bay.

When to visit

Many travelers visit British Columbia Apr–Sep, which includes the province’s sunniest, driest weather (Jul–Aug) and peak flower season (Apr–May) in Victoria’s renowned gardens. Ski season runs Dec–Mar, but skiing is often possible well into Apr, when the World Ski & Snowboard Festival is held at Whistler. Vancouver’s big annual events include the Pacific National Exhibition (Aug/Sep) and the Celebration of Light (Jul/Aug), a musical fireworks exhibition. Rain is common in year-round, especially Oct–Mar.